BOISE -- Two women from Washington, dozens of supporters on the internet, and a Boise book store are teaming up to give Meridian students copies of a book currently on hold from the district's curriculum.
Earlier this month, the Meridian School Board decided to put The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie on hold for re-evaluation as part of the curriculum. The temporary hold spurred a grassroots movement to distribute copies of the Sherman Alexie book to students.
Rediscovered Books is a local book shop in Downtown Boise. Owner Bruce DeLaney and his employees are fans of young adult literature, and of Alexie, who is from the Pacific Northwest, and is also the author of a number of other books.
He is recognized within the reading and book community as one of the best young adult authors who's writing today, said DeLaney.
When DeLaney heard that parents in Meridian were challenging The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, he thought it was a joke. His 16-year-old has read the book, but he would not let his 10-year-old read it. DeLaney said most parents who want the book banned object to the language and sexuality in the book.
I really sympathize with the people who say, 'I want to have some say in what my children read,' said DeLaney. What I don't have sympathy for is a parents saying, 'I don't want anyone's children to see this, I don't want anyone's children to read this.'
DeLaney said sales of Alexie's book have increased since the book was challenged, and they have had to make several re-orders.
Meridian School District Spokesman Eric Exline says the book is still in school libraries. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is one of five books students could choose to read for that unit. The Meridian School Board is reviewing that book, which is now on hold from the curriculum, along with the rest of the supplemental reading list.
Sara Baker, a student at the University of Washington, and her friend Jen Lott live in Washington state, and heard the book was being challenged.
Because we're both big fans of the book, we were kind of surprised, said Baker.
Baker and Lott started a GoFundMe page as a way for family and friends to pool money to buy a few copies for students in Meridian. Then the Seattle media picked up the story, and support grew.
Within 24 hours we had enough for 100 copies, so at that point we thought, 'Well why don't we just go for all 350' and we hit that in less than a week, Baker said. So I think that's a really strong testament to how people feel about the book.
With Rediscovered Books, they bought 350 copies to give to Meridian students who are still interested in this tale of the teenage experience. Any of the extra money their GoFundMe page raised will go toward buying more books for classroom use.
The Meridian School District said it would be several months before the school board makes a final decision on the future of the book.